Soda tax of 20 percent may cut United Kingdom obesity rate by 180,000

Nov. 1, 2013, Bloomberg

By Simeon Bennett

A 20 percent tax on sugary drinks in the United Kingdom would cut the nation’s obesity rate by 1.3 percent, with the greatest benefit for people under 30, a study found.

The tax, proposed by the U.K. Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, would result in about 180,000 fewer adults with a body mass index of 30 or more, researchers from the universities of Oxford and Reading wrote in the journal BMJ. Among people ages 16 to 30, who are the greatest consumers of sugary drinks, the tax would reduce obesity by 7.6 percent, the study showed.

About 26 percent of adults in the United Kingdom are obese, the second highest rate in Europe behind Hungary, which has adopted taxes on salt and sugar. While other European nations and some U.S. states tax soft drinks, most levies are less than 10 percent. Continue reading